Catholic Group Sues Biden for Blocking 60-Year Tradition

( – The National Park Service (NPS) has walked back on its decision to disallow the Knights of Columbus organization to hold a Memorial Day Mass at the Poplar Grove National Cemetery in in Petersburg, Virginia.

The decision followed a lawsuit filed by the Catholic men’s group, which has traditionally held the mass at Poplar Grove for 60 years. After being denied a permit to hold mass at the site for the second year in a row – which the group does to commemorate those who have fought for the country in years past – they sued the Biden administration for religious discrimination, and filed a motion for a temporary restraining order against the NPS.

Attorney John Moran, who represents the Knights of Columbus in the lawsuit, called the NPS’ actions a “blatant violation of the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).”

In a statement, Alexa Viets, who is the superintendent of the Petersburg National Battlefield, the branch of the NPS that manages Poplar Grove, attempted to defend the NPS’ decision to disallow the mass, saying that events in national cemeteries like Poplar Grove are only “reserved for a limited set of official commemorative activities.” A caveat in the rules of the NPS classifies religious services such as vigils and mass as “demonstrations” and are thus not allowed in national cemeteries.

However, counsel for the Knights of Columbus argue that with the exception of the last two years, the group has always been allowed to hold mass at Poplar Grove.

The Knights’ traditional mass also received support from Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares. Miyares filed an amicus brief with the court that defended the holding of the mass and scored the denial of the permit, calling the decision by the NPS “shameful.”

Republican Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin also voiced his support for the Knights, saying in a post on social media that he applauded Miyares for protecting religious freedom and the “worthy tradition” of the Knights of Columbus.

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